Pastor Mike will be speaking on A Famine of the Word of God Part 1. He will be reading out of Amos 8:1-14.
Not only is God at work, but He is working in the heart of each of His people, and He is sending out a warning that it is time that we come to the Lord and be fully surrendered to Him, and sold out for His cause, and committed to His purposes, and obedient to His ways.
This is Pastor Mike Sanders, and you’re listening to Hope Worth Having Radio Program. Thank you for tuning in and being a part of today’s program. We’re excited because we’re continuing our study in the book of Amos, and now we’ve made it to chapter 8.
Today we’re going to be covering verses 1 through 14, actually the first part of it, and we’re going to be talking about a famine of the Word of God. So I want you to get your Bible, get a pen and a piece of paper, and take some notes.
Let’s learn together about a famine of the Word of God. You have your Bible this morning. I want you to join me in the book of Amos. We’re in chapter 8, and we have been tracking through the book of Amos for several weeks now.
And we finally made it to chapter 8, and I want to remind you what we learned a little bit of last week, that in chapter 7, 8, and 9, which is the final section, that we have five visions that God has given Amos and five promises.
We have already covered three of those visions. We will cover the fourth vision today. And so as we are understanding the scope of what this letter, what this book is saying to us from the prophet Amos, we understand that he was a man who was an everyday man, but he had an extraordinary message.
He was a farmer, but God put his hand upon him, called him into the ministry, and to deliver the message of judgment. to the people of God. He went right into the heart of their religious center, and He stood up before them, and He began to teach and to preach what God had given Him.
You and I are living in some very unique days for our world. And these days are unique, not only spiritually, but morally. But God is still at work, and even though we are in uncertain times, God is still sending out His message.
And so as we come to Amos chapter 8, it’s not just a historical analysis of the book of Amos, but rather it is, God, what are You saying to me? What areas in my life need to change? What principles can I apply that are going to reflect more of the image of the Lord Jesus Christ?
I want you to imagine this morning that if you showed up to church and the church decided to have a Harvest Thanksgiving service, there was great anticipation and excitement about this special day. But when you showed up, you found out that it was a funeral service.
And even worse, the preacher got up and said, it’s your funeral service. And you are in a state of shock. That’s exactly how the people of Israel feel. Amos the preacher is teaching them that they are getting ready to experience their own funeral service.
Amos receives, he communicates to the people of Israel in the fourth of the five visions that he received from the Lord. The Lord said, what do you see, Amos? And Amos said in verse two, a basket of summer fruit.
But they are in for a surprise. The people of God, they might think it’s going to be pleasant that this fruit is going to be something wonderful, something to celebrate. But God is using a play on words here in the original Hebrew language.
And He is letting them know that the time for the end has come for the nation of Israel. That after decades of giving them opportunities to change their ways and countless warnings from one prophet of another, it was too late for them to turn to God.
The chosen people of God are ripe for judgment and harvest time. has come. So let’s begin to look at this passage of Scripture this morning and we’ll note first of all that the end is coming. In verse 1 of chapter 8 the Bible says thus the Lord God showed me behold a basket of summer fruit and he said Amos what do you see?
So I said a basket of summer fruit. Then the Lord said to me the end has come upon my people Israel. I will not pass by them anymore and the songs of the temple shall be wailing in that day says the Lord God.
Many dead bodies everywhere they shall be thrown out in silence. Now God often uses objects to give his lessons. We refer to them as object lessons. They are designed to teach important spiritual truths.
When we come to the book of Jeremiah, God uses clay, pottery, to send a message to his people. You remember that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in the Gospel of Luke, that he used a farmer and seed to send a message.
In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 16, Jesus uses yeast to communicate his message and truth. And in this text, in Amos, chapter eight, we see a basket of summer fruit. Now, to understand fully what God is saying here, you need to understand in your mind that in the nation of Israel, they had a calendar and a agricultural calendar, and throughout that calendar, there were different times in which they would harvest the fruit.
And the summer fruit was the last harvest in Israel’s agricultural calendar. It was the end of the harvest season. In a sense, God is saying to Israel two particular messages. First of all, that they are ripe for judgment.
And second of all, that the end has come, that this season of all their prosperity and all of their military success and all of the things that they were enjoying materialistically was coming to an end, and they were getting ready to reap what they have sown.
I want you to take your Bible real quickly, if you will, to the book of Galatians, chapter six. Now, don’t lose the book of Amos. We’re coming back, but I just want to help connect some dots here. this is a truth that is taught throughout the scriptures.
And in Galatians chapter 6 and verse 7 and 8, the Apostle Paul teaches us in these verses how important it is to recognize, very much like the nation of Israel, we as individuals will reap what we sow.
Verse 7 of Galatians chapter 6 says, do not be deceived. God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that will he also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will reap of the flesh corruption. But he who sows to the spirit will of the spirit reap everlasting life.
When we think of harvest, When we think of reaping, we can think of it in two terms. First of all, if we sow to the flesh, if we sow wickedness in our life, if we sow disobedience in our life, then we are going to reap that.
And we know in the book of Hosea that the Bible says it’ll be a whirlwind of reaping. We know that if we choose bad path, a journey in our life that is contrary to the word of God, that God is not mocked.
God is not gonna be made fun of. God is not going to be put down. God is not gonna be challenged. His holiness will forever stand. And you and I as his people understand that if we choose a path that is dishonoring to God, that we will reap what we have sown.
Many people say, what’s going on in my life, pastor? What’s going on in the life of my children or the life of my friends or my family members? Listen, I know it’s early, but hear me. Many people are reaping what they have sown.
Your life is a culmination of the choices and decisions that you make. You choose to disobey God. You cannot expect God to be mocked and to be just overlooking all that. But the wonderful promise is that he says if we sow in the spirit, we will also reap in the spirit.
So that’s why when we make good choices today, those small choices, those maybe insignificant choices, maybe you don’t think it’s a big deal, but you make the right choices in your life, you choose to obey God, you choose to follow his way, you are surrendered to his will and you are pursuing his plan for your life, then I want you to know that you will reap the blessings of God.
It’s not that the children of God do not suffer. It’s not that we do not face opposition. It’s not that there won’t be persecution in our life, but we will have the hand of God upon us, and He will continue to meet every need that we have, and He will sustain us, and He will sanctify us, and He will help us to finish strong for Him.
Unfortunately, in the book of Amos, what we find is a people who have for so long rejected the Word of God, so long rejected the commands of God and the will of God that now they are ripe for judgment.
But they are not only ripe for judgment, but just like in Israel that there was a cycle of harvests and that the agricultural calendar had finally come to an end, so will the nation of Israel come to an end.
This is what Jeremiah taught. This is what he proclaimed to the people of God before the Babylonian captivity in Jeremiah chapter 8 verse 20 He said the harvest is pass The summer is ended and we are not they what Jeremiah was saying is exactly what Amos is saying is that the harvest cycle has come to an end and The people of God have not turned to him That the nation of Israel has not repented of their sins and come to God and to receive him as their Lord We are not Saved he says and you know the story how the Babylonians came in and they took over the nation of Israel This is the same story Israel finds itself over and over in a pattern in a cycle if you will that God blesses them They get prosperous then they kind of go off the rails and they do what they want and then God sends a prophet he sends a pastor a preacher a person in their life to warn them of the direction of their life and they continue to resist and reject and disobey and then finally the summer has passed It has come to a completion The harvest is over and we are not saved Amos the nation of Israel is being warned that the Assyrians are coming and They’re gonna overthrow this nation this little nation Israel if they do not repent and turn to God Now the second thing I want us to see is why?
The end is coming. Why is the end coming for the nation of Israel? So we go down to verse 4 hear this you who swallow up the needy and Make the poor of the land fail Saying when will the new moon be passed that we may sell grace Now here the Lord is describing what the people of Israel and especially the leaders of Israel and particularly the religious leaders of the nation of Israel.
He is describing the seeds that they have sown. It is seeds of selfishness. It is seeds of self -interest. They have one goal in life and that is to make money. It is to make a profit. Now there’s nothing wrong with making money and there’s nothing wrong with being blessed.
But the main thing is why do you do what you do? If making money is your focus in life, if it is the main goal in your life, I’m telling you that it’s gonna become an idol in your life and it’s gonna be all that you are consumed with and it’s gonna compromise your integrity, it’s gonna compromise your honesty and you are gonna go down a path taking advantage of others living for self, always striving to figure out how you can make more money.
That’s what the religious leaders of the nation of Israel were pursuing. The reason that the end is coming is real simple, that the people of God had broken the law of God and they had failed to live by His covenant.
Now, how was that manifested? I think in two ways. First of all, they put profit before the people. They put profit before the people. When you put profit before people, it’s always gonna be the people, the poor especially, who suffer because they have no money, they have no power to fight back and as a result in your heart and my heart, compassion, will go out the window.
Honesty and integrity will come to an end in our life. Now, this indictment has been repeated over and over in the book of Amos. Just back up with me, if you will, in the chapter two. Go ahead. You need to see the themes that are woven throughout this book and you need to understand why the harvest has passed and the summer has ended.
You need to understand why the judgment of God is coming upon. When we look into the scriptures, remember that the Bible teaches us in the book of Romans that all these things have happened in the past, that we may learn, that we might learn.
and we can learn from the failures of others, and we can learn from the warnings of others, and we can learn the path that we need to take. Many times as my children were growing up, they might complain about certain leaders, and they might say, well, what about that person?
Dad, you told us that this is what leaders do, and this is the example where to be, but look at them, Dad. And I’ll say, well, sometimes we learn what not to do. Sometimes we learn what not to do. We don’t get bitter, we don’t get angry, we don’t get upset about it, we just say lesson learned.
When we come to the book of Amos, we’re trying to learn what not to do. Now look at the people of God in the book of Amos, chapter two, verse six. Notice how that they have treated the poor, thus says the Lord.
For three transgressions of Israel, and for four I will not turn away its punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver, and the poor for repair. of sandals. Chapter four, jump over to chapter four again, this indictment comes upon the people of God.
Verse one, hear this word, you cows of Bashan. Now ladies, don’t get upset, but he does call the women cows because they were self -indulgent. It was all about them. They had become satisfied with their own prosperity and they had indulged in material things.
And so he says, they are cows of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to your husbands, bring wine, let us drain. Now I want you to go to chapter five and verse 11.
Chapter five and verse 11. The Bible says, therefore, because you tread down the poor and take grain taxes from him, though you have built houses of hewn stone, yet you shall not dwell in them. You have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink wine from them.
For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins afflicting the just and taking bribes, diverting the poor from justice at the gate. What was the indictment that is brought against the people of God?
Is that they had put profit before the people. So in the days of Amos, the rich land owner swallowed up the land holdings of all the poor people. Now the land was supposed to be safeguarded. It was supposed to stay in the family according to the law of Moses.
And the rich took advantage, and they not only took the land of the poor, but they sold the poor people into slavery, forcing them to eat wheat. that was mixed with the sweepings of the floor. That’s what the Scripture is teaching us here this morning as we look at this.
I want you to again go down to verse five. I’m in chapter eight of Amos. When will the new moon be passed, that we may sell grain and the Sabbath, that we may trade wheat, making the Epa small and the Shekel large, falsifying the scales by deceit, that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and even sell the bad wheat.
And so the point is that they were using the religious festivals to make money. They were turning what God wanted to be a memorial to his great work and miracles in the life of the people of Israel. And they were turning it into a money making machine rather than pointing people to worship an almighty God who is holy and righteous and just and worthy of all praise.
They had put profit before the people. But they had also put profit before God. A great tragedy in Israel was not the social injustice that was being manifested, although there was much. That was something pretty common in the ancient world.
But the tragedy in Israel was that they should have known better. They should have done better. They knew who the one true God was. They knew His expectations. They knew His truth. And that truth would set them free.
But instead of setting an example to the rest of the nations and being the light that Isaiah had called them to be, they chose to follow the example of the rest of the nations. They chose to embrace the patterns and the habits of pagan nations that were all around them.
And as a result, they were putting profit before God. They wanted to use their religion to somehow make sure that they increased their money. And so God says, I’m bringing the hammer. I’m bringing the judgment.
Now, the third thing that I want you to note is how the end is coming. How is the end going to come? So when we come to verse 7, the prophet who has already said the season of harvest is over. It’s coming to an end.
You’re ripe for judgment. And he’s making an object lesson to the people of God. And he’s saying it’s all coming to an end. And then he makes the case why? Now, remember that Amos is standing before them in their religious shrines, in their religious temples, and he is hammering down on them.
He is bringing the thunder of God to them. But now in verse 7, he is teaching them how specifically this end will come upon them. them in verse 7 through 14. So the Bible says, the Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob, surely I will never forget any of their works shall the land not tremble for this and everyone mourn who dwells in it.
I want you to jump down to verse 9 and it shall come to pass in that day says the Lord that I will make the Sun go down at noon I will darken the earth in broad daylight. I want you to note that he says in verse 11 behold the days are coming says the Lord that I will send a famine on the land not a famine of bread nor a thirst for water but of hearing the words of the Lord.
So there are three ways in which the end is going to come upon the people of God. First is going to be an earthquake. In verse 8, verses 9 and 10 is an eclipse, and in verse 11 through 14 is a famine.
Not a physical famine, but a spiritual famine. Not a famine of bread, but a famine of the Word of God. What we note, first of all, is that as we understand this end coming, is that we must be reminded as the people of God, and we must communicate this out to our friends, and to our families, and to every stranger, and every person that comes into our path, as they consider all that is happening in this unique world, in these crazy times that we are living, that God uses natural disasters to warn of a greater disaster.
It’s too many people, even God’s people, who have their head in the sand, and who are just trying to write off these things to coincidences, and things that might be happening, but I’m telling you that God is at work.
And that not only is God at work, but He is working in the heart of each of His people, and He is sending out a warning, and a message to us, that it is in time that we come to the Lord, and be fully surrendered to Him, and sold out for His cause, and committed to His purposes, and obedient to His ways.
But not only is this message that the end is coming, and He uses natural disasters to get our antennas up, and to help us to see the red flags, and to begin to connect dots, is that it’s important that we warn this community, and our family and friends, that the time is coming when Jesus Christ is going to return and take His people home.
And we need to be ready. We need to make sure that we are spiritually prepared, that we are alert and attentive to the workings of God, and how He is speaking to us through natural disaster. Now I don’t want you to be disappointed.
this morning, I don’t want you to be defeated. You say, man, I came to church and the pastor’s hammering down on us, even at eight o ‘clock in the morning, he brings it. But here’s the point, friends, I’m only bringing the message of God, first of all.
But I want you to be encouraged because as you think about those three distinct things that God is bringing, an earthquake, an eclipse, and a famine, that each one of those judgments has been experienced by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
That each curse that has been pronounced upon the nation of Israel for their rebellion Each earthquake, each eclipse, each famine that is pronounced upon them, Jesus Christ has endured these curses on the cross and he is the answer, he is the remedy, he is the antidote to each and every person who senses and realizes that these judgments are upon a nation like America and that these natural disasters are taking place that God may awaken our hearts to him.
On the cross, when Jesus Christ was suspended between heaven and earth, the Gospel of Matthew tells us that there was an earthquake that shook the land so much that the Old Testament saints came out of the graves.
There was a resurrection of the Old Testament saints. This is found in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 27. We also note that you remember that as Jesus Christ was suspended between heaven and earth, that you remember that Jesus cried out in the darkness, that the sun hid its face upon the land and that there was a darkness that swept across as the sins of mankind were placed upon the lovely sinless savior, Jesus Christ himself and why did he do it, my friends, so that you could be saved, so that you could know Jesus Christ as your eternal savior, so that you could experience the freedom of your sin and your sins forgiven and you could live with God forever and ever.
The Bible tells us that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting, what church, life. Jesus Christ experienced the natural disasters of an earthquake and the darkening of the sun of an eclipse that took place upon the world at the time of his crucifixion but there was a famine for in the midst that earthquake, and in the midst of that eclipse, Jesus cried out, my God, my God, why?
That’s thou forsaking me. Amos was an ordinary man with an extraordinary message, and as he was expressing and proclaiming the judgments of God upon a nation that had turned its back against God, a people who refused to truly and authentically worship the Lord, Amos reminds them that part of their problem is the famine of God’s Word.
And I pray that you’ll get back into the Word of God, that you’ll be in a Bible -believing church where the Word of God is taught and you can continue to grow in your faith. Do not look for a church that entertains.
Get into a church where the Word of God is central to the ministry and strengthens our walk with Jesus Christ. Hey, make sure if you want to hear more teaching of God’s Word, check us out on YouTube.
Just go to your YouTube app, type in Hope Worth Having, subscribe to us, so take advantage of that. It’s a great teaching tool, so I hope you will be blessed and be encouraged in it. This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.